Google Chrome Review @ 5 Minutes in
I've just been playing with Google Chrome from the Dev Channel site. After 5 minutes, I've got some things I hate.
- Title Tabs Done Wrong:
I like the idea of integrating the tabs into the title bar, however they don't go far enough. If you just reach up there and click-and-drag, chances are you'll grab a tab, and detach it or move it in the tab order.
When Apple lifted this same trick in the Safari 4.0 betas, it was great because if you just grabbed any tab, it acted as the title bar would and moved the window, if you clicked and held, then started dragging, it would drag/detach that tab. That's how this should work.
I like the fact that there's very little, well, chrome in Chrome. I like minimal layouts that give me maximum space for what I'm looking at and don't interfere. Chrome could probably drop 20 pixels by pushing the tabs to the top of the window and making them behave properly.
- Tabs open behind current tab:
This makes me nuts. When you click a link in the current tab, the new tab opens behind the current one, and not all the way to the right like I expect. Here's a use case that shows how worthless this is. If I'm on Fark, and Fark is on tab 4 of 8, and I click 3 links and 3 comment section links, they're now jumbled in as tabs 5-10, rather than 9-15. They're not where I expect them, they're where I have to hunt for them. This cannot currently be changed by the user.
- No on-the-fly Search Selection
I like Flock because, among other things, you can drop down the search box and choose an engine on the fly. By default Chrome will let you change your default engine between Google (go figure), Yahoo and Bing!. But there is no search box in the browser. What they mean by "default engine" is "what engine is used when you type text into an empty tab URL box, or highlight and right-click text in a page". That's pretty cool, but I'd love the ability to change that engine based on the context of the search rather than through Preferences. A good case is typing in "Big Trouble in Little China", dropping down the menu to IMDB and pulling up the IMDB page. The way to do that at present is to type "Big Trouble in Little China" into the URL box, right click the URL area, click Edit Search Engines, and tell it to make IMDB the default (after setting up the IMDB search engine yourself). Then you'll have to change your default back to Google later.
- Mid Click Auto-Scrolling:
There is none. One of my main gripes in Safari is the lack of auto-scroll. For anyone not paying attention, the idea is you click the middle mouse button, and then move the mouse up/down left/right to scroll around, no need to slavishly ZING a scroll-wheel/ball around to go up/down the page, or dive to the edge of the window and try to grab the scroll bar. Civilized, brainless, and easy on the tendons.
- Chrome is low on Chrome:
This is a "LIKE", I'm really happy with how sparse it is. The nav-bar + tab bar + window chrome is much smaller than Firefox, and even smaller than Safari. That gives more room to me and gives me a window that is small and tight, not annoying like FF. I also like the solution to the Status Bar, which is the bar at the bottom of Firefox or Safari where it shows you the destination of a link you're hovering, or how many items of a page have loaded.
Chrome doesn't have a status bar, but instead they have a status "ribbon", let's say, that appears to cover part of the lower left of the window when you hover something or the browser has something to say, like that.
I'm sure there will be more, I'm not sure if it will be more positive or more negative. I suspect this will be another browser I use occasionally to see if it fixes the things I gripe about, and then put back in the drawer and go back to FF or Flock until it gets better, MOAR, or whatever.